Change Your Face
“Change your face” I said to Scott 15 minutes before church started a few weeks ago.
He’d had a bad week, and that morning there were more challenges to deal with – and it showed. He had a blank, harsh look and I knew I had to protect him and more importantly others. I wasn’t sure how he was going to get up and preach… thank goodness for the Spirit and worship songs.
We want people to be authentic at LivingWaters, to be real – not to put on a happy face if they are feeling beaten down… but his countenance was a little too real.
We all handle challenges and conflict differently. That same week I had been skimming through social media and saw some posts that were lies about our church and about Scott and I got heated. I was upset and I wanted to lash out. Thank goodness for both of my sons who talked me off the ledge and told me how futile it would be to respond. They were right.
Basically they said: “Take the high road”. I doubt either of them realized they were paraphrasing this passage from I Thessalonians 5:13-15, “Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.”
“Live in peace with each other”
Man that’s getting harder and harder isn’t it? As we all feel more and more freedom to speak what we want, to stand up for ourselves, to… “take it to the mats”. (I’ve never actually watched ‘The Godfather’, I got that from ‘You’ve Got Mail’)
Entitlement to speak what we think has taken over the culture. There is not a lot of trying to live in peace with each other going on. People are irritated at life and at each other. In the Costco parking lot the other day a woman kept honking as she waited for a van to back up. It was a Saturday and it was packed and this van was doing lots of inching back and forth with small turns to ease out of her spot. As I walked to my car I passed the honking woman, I kinda slowed down and looked at her, she looked back at me and said: “She can’t even (swear word) back up her car”. I was like “What?? That’s the word you think of because you have to wait a bit?” Not a lot of peace going on.
As non-Believers and Believers air their differences and Believers disagree with each other and non-Believers disagree with each other… peace is hard to see.
And yet Paul admonishes us to get along. To actually go beyond getting along and actively live in peace. To actively deal with our differences in love, with patience, and to strive to do what is good for each other… and for everyone else. So there’s that.
What a powerful testimony it is when good prevails over evil. When kindness wins over sarcasm, When caring wins over apathy. When you can tell someone to change their face because you love them. Look around – who needs a touch of peace – who needs a gentle nudge to turn to grace. Can you be the one to bring the peace? Can you be the one to bring the grace?
The apostle Paul seems to think that the brothers and sisters in Christ should be the ones